PDGC II – Special Guests

Here is the entire list of Guest Speakers for the Power-Up Digital Games Conference II, in alphabetical order. More bios and information on each Guest will be added soon:

Billy Joe Cain (Director of Business Development, Meta 3D Studios)

Becky Taylor (Game Industry Consultant)

Becky is a successful marketing consultant within the video game industry. Currently, she works with Reboot Game Developer Conferences as a Business Developer and at Innervate as an Evangelist. She has worked in the past at places such as Nkidu Games, 3D Realms, Tencent Boston, and Signal Studios. Her history with video games started at a young age, with titles such as Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM and Half-Life. You can find her tweeting at @omglazerkittens.

Chad Hoover (President, Continuum Studio)

Chad Hoover is a starter entrepreneur and founder of Continuum Studio. He was raised in a small town in Indiana. He studied game design and production at Full Sail University and proceeded to work in the growing indie game development to focus and directly apply his Certified Scrum Master certification and Agile Certification. Chad loves the big city life so moving back to Orlando was the right fit. At the core, Chad is a man of faith and puts GOD first. In his free time, Chad loves movies, cooking, DJing, and rolling those D20 in a game of Dungeons and Dragons! Chad is a hardworking, determined and driven individual in anything he strives for in life and his career. A man focused on giving back to the community and mentoring when given the chance. So please reach out on Twitter.

Chris Pusczak (President, SymbioVR)

Chris has been an avid follower and researcher on the Virtual Reality industry for over 5 years. Becoming a Subject Matter Expert, he’s taken a deep focus, specializing in VR peripherals. With a background in Game Design and Project Management, Crispy heads up “VRmor”, a system that allows a user to merge multiple VR peripherals into one unit, acting as both the CEO of the company and as the project’s Focused Creative Director.

Connor VanDyke (President, Major Games)

Dave Oshry (CEO, New Blood Interactive)

Dave Vogt (CEO, The Ludicrous Ones)

David Baity (CTO, Crimson Leaf, LLC)

Programmer and entrepreneur David Baity is a native of Asheville, North Carolina. He has earned both an Associate’s degree in machine technology from Orange Coast Community College in Costa Mesa California as well as a Bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. David has a great deal of experience in the fields of machining and programming, and in 2003 founded Crimson Leaf LLC. In his spare time David enjoys computer gaming and spending time with his pets.

Gabriel Orlandelli (Lead Designer, Major Games)

Greg MacMartin (CEO, IDGi)

Gregory MacMartin is the CEO of Interdimensional Games Inc., bringing us the game Consortium, and the recently fully crowdfunded campaign for the sequel: “Consortium: The Tower”. He has worked alongside several games, including Harry Potter, Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, and Homeworld.

Greg Zeschuk (Former Founder, Bioware)

Greg Zeschuk, along with Ray Muzyka, founded Bioware back in the 1990’s. Bioware went on to create some of the most treasured game series, including Mass Effect, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age, and Baldur’s Gate. He has since retired from Bioware and enjoys a good beer nowadays, being the Chief Beer Enthusiast on The Beer Diaries.

Heidi MacDonald (Creative Director & Head Troublemaker, iThrive)

Heidi has her fingers on the pulse of the gaming industry, forges connections with prominent leaders and movers in the gaming world, and is a developer who has made award-winning games so knows what goes into creating them. She directs iThrive’s efforts to create engaging games for teens. She also plans iThrive’s events that bring game developers together to learn how to include positive psychology concepts into their work. She is a sought-after speaker at gaming conferences, with a wide following—and some of the highest speaker ratings at the 2016 Narrative Summit at the Game Developers Conference.

James Morgan III (CEO, IndieBox)

Japheth Dillman (CEO, CLEVR; CCO, YetiZen; VP of Content, PlayTable)

Japheth Dillman began making games over 25 years ago, taking collegiate courses in programming at the tender age of 10 in order to learn to program his own games. Starting out on his Tandy 500 and Apple IIIe he was making adventure games (using ASCI art) and MUDs (text based multi-user dungeon) games. The grown-up version of Japheth is equal parts Mentor, Entrepreneur, Investor, and Evangelist.
The Japheth of today, a white paper author and infamous conference speaker, has found success in mobile, social, and VR/AR games. He co-founded the YetiZen Accelerator as Chief Creative Officer to help other startups with their product vision, growth hacking, and design. He also mentors a select group of startups that excite him. Japheth consults with established tech companies and investment firms helping them find traction and growth in today’s fast-paced markets. Known for designing the very first Augmented Reality game on mobile, Japheth since founded CLEVR, a social network built natively for VR/AR and provides a layer of discovery of new content. Finally, he is the VP of Content at Play Table, one of the hottest Mixed Reality devices on the market.
You can find out more about Japheth at: www.ijanda.com

Jess Brummer (Project Director, Burnout Game Studios)

Among his many talents, Jess is well known for his Pun-manship and being both a literal and figurative Man of Many Hats.  He collects unusual headwear like he collects tasks, and if he could convince his team, he would assign them both out equally; but his teams are generally more accepting of the work then the haberdashery.  He’s worked in the video game industry in various capacities for almost a decade, and would gladly talk your ear off, if he wasn’t afraid that you wouldn’t be able to wear a hat again.

Jesse Collins (CEO, Zettabyte MPR, LLC)

Founded by Jesse Collins, Zettabyte is dedicated to enriching the lives of indie developers, by helping small time devs get a foothold in the industry through proper marketing and public relations tactics, or even through digital keynotes. He believes that no game is too small. Just because a game isn’t the AAA title of the century, doesn’t mean your next title won’t be. Newcomers to the industry need to be nourished and accepted. Jesse brings with him nearly a decade of experience and hopes to help the industry grow with his expertise. He doesn’t THINK outside of the box, he LIVES outside of it.

Joerg Droege (Writer, Scene World Magazine)

Joerg began his gaming career by playing on his grandfather’s Commodore 64 at the age of 5. At the same time, he got his first taste of video game competition by competing against his grandfather on his favorite C64 games of that era. In 1990, on his 8th birthday, he got his own C64. At first, he was a solitary gamer, playing alone on his favorite games. But, in a short time, he began to play and compete with many friends in his home town. In 1998, he entered the C64 scene and convinced his friends to join him in producing a diskmagazine called Scene World. Their goal was to unite the separate worlds of NTSC and PAL into one community. In 2012, he became even more inspired and launched a new project to “preserve the history of the gaming industry by gathering of biographical stories of technologists, inventors, pioneers, and gamers.” Joerg felt these stories were important to preserve for future generations to study and enjoy. To gather this information, Joerg conducted a number of  Skype video interviews. The results of this ongoing research was published online in each edition of Scene World Magazine. Scene World Magazine has since developed a strong online presence and has expanded into new fields that include podcasting and Twitch, as well as the aforementioned Skype video interviews.

Rebecca Heineman (President, Olde Skuul)

Renee Gittins (President, Stumbling Cat)

Renee is a multi-disciplinary leader with expertise in software engineering and creative direction. She is the CEO of Stumbling Cat, creator of Potions: A Curious Tale. She led engineering and server development at Fixer Studios, and designed and developed cognitive evaluation mini-games and health management systems for X2 Biosystems. Renee is a passionate advocate and connector for developers and diversity in the game industry. Renee organizes game-jams, panels, job fairs and other developer events as a board member of IGDA Seattle, contributes to Broken Joysticks, and actively mentors game development students at Foundry10.

Richie Bisso (President, Hyperkinetic Studios)

Rich Bisso is the President and CTO of Hyperkinetic Studios, an indie dev group based in Los Angeles, CA. They are currently working on their first internal title, Epic Tavern. Following its successful Kickstarter and Greenlight campaigns, the team is feverishly applying their talents toward bringing Epic Tavern to Early Access on Steam. Rich is a 17-year industry veteran, and has played key roles in making games at Treyarch, Edge of Reality, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. A lifelong video game addict, he loves his job, and will do whatever it takes to make sure great games keep being made, including helping others get into the industry however he can!

Rupert Meghnot (CXO, Burnout Game Ventures)

Rupert Meghnot started his first business as a political science student at Michigan State. By the time he received his MBA at Rollins College, he’d been an entrepreneur and consultant for six years, in multiple businesses. In the time since, he has assisted more than 250 organizations, from startups to Fortune 100 – mostly tech startups – in the areas of project management, product development, business planning, and team leadership. He holds multiple patents, in consumer electronics, motion simulation and VR. He became involved in game development while starting and operating his simulation company for 11 years. After teaching technology at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management for six years, he then developed and taught project management to aspiring game producers at Full Sail University’s Game Design Masters degree program, for another six years. His former students are helping manage $billions in game IP. He started Burnout Game Ventures in 2014. Currently one of the largest game incubators in the world, with more than 300 people in its Talent Pool, he has helped start 12 game studios, and has nearly 40 releases scheduled over the next 12-18 months.

Sean Siem (Director of Operations VR/AR, Jetstream Software)

Sean Siem has been working on the forefront of 3D animation and content development for real-time and pre-rendered applications since he began 3D modeling in 1994. He has developed user experiences, user interfaces, and 3d content for AR, VR and mixed reality applications since 2011. He was one of the first developers working with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and MS Hololens, and he’s developed products for Fortune 500 companies on each device. Sean has won awards for VR and AR application development and loves combining new technologies. He helps the Seattle Unity User’s Group, Seattle Indies and IGDA Seattle.

Sebastien Pacetti (CEO, Yunoia)

Sebastien Pacetti is a games industry executive with 15 years of experience in Game Publishing. He worked at Amazon, Ubisoft, GameForge, Koch Media, Warhorse Studios and recently launched his own company Yunoïa.

Stephen Kick (President, Night Dive Studios)

Stephen Machuga (President, Stack Up)

Captain Machuga is a 1998 graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Russian linguistics on an ROTC scholarship. He is a former Army Infantry/Military Intelligence officer and Airborne Ranger, having spent the majority of his service at Fort Bragg with the 82nd Airborne Division. In 2003, he deployed to Iraq with 2nd Infantry Division and whittled through the seemingly endless 13-month deployment with the help of video games. Captain Machuga left the service in 2006, where he moved to Washington DC with his wife Margo to work as a government counterterrorism analyst. Once he started to see success with his charity work, his wife and he moved back home to Pittsburgh to run Stack-Up full time.

Tyler Coleman (Founder, Retora Game Studios)

Tyler Coleman is the Founder of Retora Game Studios. A long time player of simulation games, his passion for procedural generation stems from interest in the genre as well as interest in algorithmic art. This interest influences Retora’s releases, such as the recently released Merchant on iOS and Android.